Cops act, end parking nuisance

Cops act, end parking nuisance

Following a Metrolife expose last week, police finally step in to stop private bus operator from taking over a road near South End for illegal parking

For years, SRS Travels has been parking its buses to the right of the road and blocking traffic. The practice was severely reducing the capacity of the road, and causing even ambulances to remain waiting.

People living near South End Circle in Basavanagudi have finally found some respite from errant parking by a private bus operator.

SRS Travels, which boasts a fleet of 5,000 buses, had been parking scores of buses on Parvathamma Rajkumar Road, from South End Circle all the way up to Surana College, blocking traffic and causing extreme inconvenience to motorists and pedestrians every morning.

On Friday (April 5), Metrolife exposed the nuisance, and reported how the police were turning a blind eye to the open violation of traffic rules for at least three hours between 6 and 9 am.

The illegally parked buses were cutting off the capacity of the road by more than half. Other vehicles, ambulances included, would be stuck on the road, waiting for the buses to drive into the SRS bus depot.

 When this reporter visited the spot three days after the report was published, she found a policeman regulating traffic, and the buses driving into the depot without causing jams.

Suchitra Bhat, a resident of Basavanagudi for two decades, says the nuisance began about four years ago.

“A long line of buses causing traffic jams greeted us every morning,” she told Metrolife on Monday.

Traffic police are now monitoring buses as they turn into
the SRS depot near South End Circle.
Pedestrians and senior citizens were among
those affected by errant parking.

A police station is located just a couple of buildings away from the SRS bus depot, but policemen there and at the Basavanagudi police station, about a km away, had either claimed ignorance or spoken about the problem as something small and inconsequential.

Citizens had given up, frustrated by the lack of accountability. “After a point, we didn’t think complaining would make a difference because these are all influential people,” Suchitra says.

The menace began at 3 am for some living in the area, says R Ravichandran, chartered accountant and longtime resident of Basavanagudi.

“These buses have shrill air horns and they blare away at unearthly hours. There are old people living here and it can be traumatic for them,” he says.

Ravichandran has seen ambulances being stuck because of SRS buses blocking the road.

The street also sees other violations: young boys doing wheelies, riding triples, and weaving in and out of traffic right under the nose of the police.

“The bus drivers may have had a long day but honking impatiently to park and leave does not serve any purpose,” he says.

Wg Cdr Dr K Ramchand (retd) and his wife Meera have, over the years, seen the problems caused by SRS buses. “They park on the right side of the road and cut off visibility of oncoming vehicles. In the last two days, we have seen that they have not been parking. In fact, they are moving in an orderly manner,” observes Ramchand.

Meera has observed other violations. “There is no right turn at South End Circle from R V Road but I have noticed these buses violate rules and take that turn.”

She has found the police confusing citizens and passing the buck with talk of jurisdiction.

The Metrolife story has ushered in a welcome change, says Anand, manager of south Indian restaurant Adyar Anand Bhavan, next to the bus depot. They haven’t been parking here for the last three days. I hope this
continues,” he says.

‘Govt must provide space for parking’

P Harishekaran

P Harishekaran, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic),  says the government must do its bit to provide parking for private buses.

Are you aware of nuisance parking by SRS Travels in Basavanagudi?

This is a recent development. Except for a few like Sharma, KPN and SRS, bus operators have no bus stands. The Basavanagudi issue has been looked into and action taken.

What are you doing about errant, obstructionist parking by private bus operators?

Most bus stands today are developed by the transport department, but they don’t allow private buses to park there. When the government is collecting tax from private buses, it is also their duty to provide land for them to park. They should at least earmark a space for them and collect a parking fee. None of this has been done. That’s why you find private buses occupying public spaces.

Cops drive away cancer-screening bus

A reader wrote in to say the police had forced a bus used for cancer screening to be moved away, while they were indulgent with private tour operators:

We are an NGO with a mobile breast cancer screening unit in Jayanagar. Our bus used to be parked on 30th Cross in 7th Block. We had been parking the bus there for five and a half years, without causing any nuisance. Last week, we were asked to move the bus by the BBMP and a lady who resides nearby. We park our bus there as the equipment inside the bus is expensive and the apartment security takes care of them. Due to pressure from the traffic police and the BBMP, we have moved our bus to another location. Can you please help us park our bus at the old space? 

Pratima Shankar, Jayanagar

Outstanding piece of journalism 

The Page 1 Metrolife story (April 5) regarding the chaos at South End Circle is an outstanding example of fearless, balanced, professional and comprehensive journalism. It requires courage to write about the nexus between the constabulary and powerful business houses, though it exists openly for all to see. The boxed items complement the main article. Most of all, hats off to you for chasing and getting a response from the Managing Director of SRS Travels! Competitors would typically say, “Repeated attempts to reach out to the MD went in vain.” The photographs were sharp and relevant and added icing to the article’s impeccably written journalistic cake.

Dr Vikram Kashyap, Neurosurgeon, Basavanagudi

‘We will clear them’

K N Ramesha, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Jayanagar (Traffic),
told Metrolife he had taken charge just 38 days ago. “I have taken note of this problem. I had, in fact, allowed SRS Travel buses to park here till 8 am. We will soon ensure none of these buses are parked on this road,” he says. He refused to allow Metrolife to take his picture, citing elections as the reason.

Weed out menace: DCP Annamalai

K Annamalai

K Annamalai, DCP South Division, has promised to coordinate with the traffic police, and provide extra men if necessary to “weed out the menace.” “These buses will have to be seized but it comes with an underlying issue. The transport department collects road tax but doesn’t bother to find out if these private buses have proper parking space,” he says.
There is no ban on parking, but only regulation. The police are constantly trying to balance people’s interests with law enforcement, he says.